Coroner: Casey Johnson’s death diabetes related

Socialite Casey Johnson died of a complication of diabetes, the

Los Angeles County coroner said Thursday.

Johnson, 30, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson health care

products fortune, died of diabetic ketoacidosis, the coroner said

in a brief statement. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening

condition caused by lack of insulin and sky-high blood sugar.

An autopsy was conducted Jan. 5, a day after Johnson’s body was

found at her home. The coroner’s office said it would not be able

to discuss specifics until the autopsy report and toxicology

results become available within two weeks.

Dr. Michael Baden, former chief medical examiner in New York

City, said Johnson probably slipped into a diabetic coma, but

people can usually be resuscitated from that in the first 24

hours.

“If you have somebody with diabetes, there should be somebody

checking up on that person,” said Baden, who has been an expert

witness in cases involving the late comedian John Belushi and

former pro football star O.J. Simpson.

A message left for a family spokesman was not immediately

returned.

Johnson, the daughter of New York Jets owner Robert “Woody”

Johnson, lived a party life. In December, she announced her

engagement to bisexual reality TV star Tila Tequila.

Her body was flown east for a private funeral.

Johnson had been an insulin-dependent diabetic since childhood.

A memorial fund in her name was set up with the Juvenile Diabetes

Research Foundation. Her father is chairman of that organization

and co-author of the book “Managing Your Child’s Diabetes.”

Casey Johnson lived in a quiet neighborhood behind big wooden

gates marked “Grumblenot,” but she often partied with high school

friend and fellow heiress Paris Hilton.

Johnson was charged in December with burglary and receiving

stolen property for allegedly taking $22,000 in clothing, jewelry

and other items from a friend’s home. She pleaded not guilty and

faced a February hearing.

She is survived by her parents, two younger sisters, and an

adopted child she named Ava-Monroe, after her idol, Marilyn

Monroe.